At this month’s City Council meeting, Tim Atwood was to be appointed by Mayor Hibbard Weiser City Fire Chief with City Council consent. The appointment didn’t take place.
The reason given was that two of the Council members had questions regarding the appointment and a special session needed to be held for discussion. The special session and subsequent appointment approval vote will be on Wednesday December 15th, 2021, but that is just part of the story.
The other part of the story was not mentioned. The part of the story where on Wednesday December 8th 2021, it was announced to the Weiser City Fire Department that they will be merging with Weiser Area Rural Fire District and the 100 plus years old department would close down in December 2022 and that Tim Atwood would be their new Chief.
I’ve been told that The Weiser City Fire Department was taken by surprise by this announcement, as was I when I learned more of the story. I was especially surprised that there has been a committee working on this merger since there have been no committee reports on the matter at the monthly City Council meetings and there was no mention of the merger at this month’s meeting.
I don’t know if this merger is good or bad for Weiser because there has been little or no public information. One would think that a decision this big, that affects so many would have been in the public forum on a regular basis. If this is such a good thing for Weiser why the secrecy?
One thing I do know is that the execution of this merger has been nothing short of devastating for the City of Weiser Fire Department firefighters. Many have long served the department and take great pride in serving our community only to be told that their department will be eliminated, and they have had no part of the discussion.
These firefighters come from all walks of life and are willing to walk through fire and put themselves at risk for people they do don’t know. They put their lives on hold when called. They are wakened in the middle of the night, pulled away from Sunday dinner, have missed their children’s graduations and Christmas mornings with their family. They do what most of us are unwilling to and they deserve much more respect than they received from or city leadership regarding this matter.
As I mentioned, I don’t know if merging the two departments is good or bad for Weiser, but I do know that the way it has been handled is not. I believe it is bad leadership to eliminate those who will be most affected by a decision from the discussion. It makes you look like you have something to hide.
Christina Marie Stanley